NASPA calls on Congress to save DACA
Today, the Trump administration announced their decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections after a six-month wind-down. We are deeply concerned about the impact this decision has on the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Many of these young people are enrolled at our colleges and universities or have dreams of entering higher education to create new opportunities for their future. We remain troubled about today’s decision and the inconsistent messages about the administration's support for our Nation’s “Dreamers.”
NASPA again reaffirms our commitment to the hundreds of thousands of undocumented students, faculty, and staff on our campuses and in our communities nationwide. We are dedicated to working with our members in the coming weeks and months to actively support the protection and defense of undocumented immigrants’ rights. In keeping with that promise, we encourage all of our members to reach out to their elected officials in Congress and strongly encourage them to enact legislation, such as the bipartisan Dream Act (Senate Bill 1615) or BRIDGE Act (Senate Bill 128) , that would provide enduring protection for undocumented immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants and though that national foundation is stained by the blood of innocents, now is not the time to turn our backs on history.
If you are a resident of an elected official's jurisdiction, you can contact that official regardless of whether you voted for them or voted at all. You can find the contact information for your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator online or attend a meeting or event being held by them. We strongly encourage our members to reach out personally and individually as well as to engage with campus leadership and government affairs personnel to reach out on behalf of your institution. Public statements of support, such as those recommended by United We Dream on their #DefendDACA website, will help raise awareness of the often unseen and unappreciated contributions undocumented immigrants make to our local and national communities and economy. Legislation to protect undocumented individuals will require strong bi-partisan leadership and it is essential that Congress hear directly from their constituents about the contributions undocumented immigrants make in their own communities and across the country.
In the vein of solidarity and to instill comfort during an ambiguous legislative climate, institutions may feel compelled or encouraged to declare themselves sanctuary campuses at this time. NASPA reasserts that “sanctuary campus” has no legal definition and declarations of such cannot prevent potential federal or state ramifications. Campuses are encouraged to make intentional investments in resources to support undocumented individuals on their campuses. As outlined in NASPA’s August Public Policy Briefing, “Policy in Practice: Supporting Undocumented Students During Legislative Uncertainty,” campuses are encouraged to better understand the makeup of their specific undocumented populations and the legal and financial benefits offered by the state in which they reside. Further, institutions are encouraged to provide mental health and educational support services for their undocumented students, faculty, and staff, along with connections to community-based organizations which might connect individuals to additional resources such as legal advocacy.